Summer is in full swing, and we all want to look and feel our best. Today is National Eat Your Vegetables Day, the perfect time to up your veggie intake and diversify your palate!
You know vegetables are good for you, but how? We’re breaking down what in-season vegetables offer which specific health benefits, complete with delicious recipes thanks to the popular online website, allrecipes.
This powerhouse vegetable offers so many amazing health benefits; we should all take a note from Popeye and eat our spinach! For starters, one cup of spinach provides more than half of your daily vitamin A requirement and all of your vitamin K requirement. Spinach is also rich in antioxidants which aid in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and illnesses. Two antioxidants found in spinach, beta-carotene and lutein, can help decrease the risk of cancer. Additionally, a 2015 study concluded that eating spinach was also beneficial for heart health and lowering blood pressure.
Recipe: Creamy Spinach Dip
Garlic has been utilized as a medicinal plant throughout history and is one of the most popular remedies used in China since 2700 BC. Studies have shown that garlic can help lower blood triglyceride levels, decrease blood sugar, and improve insulin sensitivity. Further research is still needed, but some studies indicate garlic has anti-cancer effects as well. The variety of health benefits garlic offers can be attributed to allicin, the main active plant compound in garlic.
Recipe: Garlic Green Beans
This green veggie is packed with selenium, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, and folate, which can help protect against disease. For pregnant women, the folate in asparagus can help prevent neural tube birth defects. Asparagus may also help support the liver’s metabolic function and protect it against toxicity. Asparagus can be added as a side to any dish to create a balanced, tasty meal!
Recipe: Sauteed Asparagus Parmesan
Artichokes boast with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, while being low in fat and calories. One medium artichoke contains about 7 grams of fiber, which is over a quarter of the suggested daily intake. Similar to asparagus, artichokes are particularly high in folate and vitamin K. They also provide vitamin C, as well as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium. To top it off, they give you about 4 grams of protein, which is high for plant-based foods.
Recipe: Artichoke Pasta Salad
Did you know that just one cup of carrots provides 428% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin A? Vitamin A is important for helping our vision, immune system, and reproduction. Carrots are also high in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Controlled studies have shown the high number of antioxidants in carrots may help fight the risk of prostate and lung cancer. Bugs Bunny might have been onto something!
Recipe: Roasted Carrot and Tahini Soup
Ten other beneficial vegetables to add into your diet this summer include:
- Bell Peppers
- Swiss Chard
How can you up your daily vegetable intake? We encourage you to try new things and have fun in the kitchen on National Eat Your Vegetables Day—you may just discover a new favorite food! Share your creations on social media, and be sure to tag us along with #EatYourVegtablesDay.